Discover how Sara is revolutionizing the social sphere for Network Marketers to connect.
Passionate about the network marketing industry, Sara Cavallaro built an incredibly successful team and business. Over the years, as the landscape of social media changed, she noticed the platforms she was using to lead and communicate with her team were becoming a huge problem. Communication became more and more difficult with so much information and so many distractions competing for everyone’s attention. Sara searched for a solution but all the apps available weren’t a great fit for her purpose or were too corporate focussed.
And so, she took the plunge and set about building the perfect place for her team to communicate, collaborate and celebrate each other. Huddle Up!
Before you found network marketing you had a completely different career in pharmaceutical research. Was there anything you were surprised to learn about yourself when you made this shift?
I’ve always been a go-getter and I’m definitely a Type A person. When I started, I wanted to be successful (not that everyone doesn’t want that) but there are different types of success. I wanted this to completely cover the salary of my corporate pharmaceutical job.
What was surprising was that I found that my own success wasn’t nearly as exciting for me as when my team achieved their goals. Working in a corporate environment I was happy when my colleagues were promoted but it just wasn’t the same. In network marketing I am genuinely so delighted and happy for my team because I know exactly what it’s taken for them to achieve their latest goal.
This made me realize that I love helping people become better leaders and it’s part of why I’m so passionate about direct sales. It gives people, no matter their background or where they are in life, an opportunity to truly thrive.
It also made me realize how entrepreneurial I was. I never would have thought that about myself.
And yet, now not only do you have an incredible network marketing team you’ve also launched your own company, Huddle Up?
Yes! I started out in network marketing back in 2012. My attitude was very much that if I was doing this I was going to go all-in because at the end of the day what I wanted was to find an alternative career so I could have a work-life balance that complimented my daily schedule.
We have so many tools for the industry but with each new tool, I discovered I kept on coming across the same gap and that was a dedicated space for our team to communicate.
So you built one!
Back in 2012, Facebook was such a different space. It was a really different environment and it worked well. I have teammates in the US, Canada, Australia, and now Japan so we all used our Facebook group pages to connect and we loved how it worked considering we couldn’t meet up in person regularly. It was our primary team communication space.
But over the years Facebook kept on changing and soon the page wasn’t serving us as well as before. It became a very noisy environment and I found that page notifications were being prioritized less and less so I couldn’t guarantee that my team was actually getting the updates and information I was posting.
It also felt quite risky using Facebook to house all of our information and team communication when it wasn’t a platform I could really control. It wasn’t designed for business. And one day I started worrying, what if Facebook got rid of pages and groups altogether?
It got to the point where I knew that to keep communicating and motivating my team I had to find a way to get us off of Facebook.
I tried so many different apps and tools but none of them were quite right. Either they were too business-focussed or they weren’t easy enough to use, none were a great fit for network marketing teams specifically. A lot of my team are working their business part-time; they just want something simple, effective and easy to access.
My husband had software experience so he understood the technical requirements and after all my research into these different apps I had a pretty good idea about what I wanted and so it was like that light bulb moment – I think we can build this!
That’s really cool! It’s pretty similar to how Penny started out too. How long did it take to build Huddle Up?
It took a little while to find the right development team. We met with lots of great developers but they just didn’t understand the direct sales industry. Finally, we met with some developers who had clients in direct sales and they really understood what I envisioned for the industry. So in mid-2019, we started developing the app. By February 2020 we held a soft launch for my team and then we launched Huddle Up publicly in the summer of 2020.
It’s helped me and it’s helped so many other leaders improve their communication with their teams. I love it, my team loves it and I’m so proud to have created this tool for our industry.
The direct sales industry is quite underserved when it comes to bespoke tools and apps, especially considering it’s such a large industry.
It’s such an underserved industry. That’s one of the reasons I’m so proud of Huddle Up. I’m passionate about our industry and love the opportunity it provided to achieve tremendous success and results for me and my family. It was hard work, like building any business is, and there just weren’t the tools available to make it easier for all of us in the industry.
So I took all the issues I was experiencing:
- How to give recognition to teams or individuals
- How to be intentional with communication
- How to know my team were actually seeing information
- How to provide an easy and quick way for my team to find information
- How to communicate with people who don’t use social media or like to keep their social media private from their work
I literally tried everything. From Facebook groups to Instagram chats to corporate options like Microsoft Teams and Slack, but none of them were suitable. We network marketers needed our own custom made tool… and now for anyone who was in the same position as me, Huddle Up is a solution. And this is only the beginning!
Ohh what’s happening next?
No seriously, since using Huddle Up I’ve been spending so much less time on social media and it’s helped me focus so much.
At the moment Huddle Up is a business tool for team communication so we can build culture and community for our team. And we’ve just added live video streaming which we’re really excited about! But, in the future, I would also love to bring in other features to help us move away from social media even more for business activities. Social media is amazing at engaging and building a personal brand to connect with your network but it doesn’t have the right functionality to support team communication to actually help us focus and grow our businesses.
You’re obviously very passionate about the network marketing industry. How did you first join?
I joined in 2012, but before that I worked in pharmaceuticals on the research and business development side. I completed my MBA and I was rising through the ranks but then when I had my third child, I was looking at my life and my time and I just wasn’t sure how I could keep on going like that.
I love working and I always wanted to work, but I craved that flexibility and control over my working life.
So I was looking for a change, not necessarily direct sales, just anything. And then, a girlfriend of mine was posting some stuff online and after a five-minute conversation I signed up on the spot. And I was hooked! What I loved about the opportunity was the flexibility to do whatever I wanted with it. I had no sales experience, no skincare experience but I just jumped in with both feet.
Wow, that’s such a risk. What were some of the key parts to your success?
Mindset, consistency… and more recently Penny!
I was desperately seeking change and the moment I started I saw how scalable and efficient it was as an industry. I just went for it 100%. I treated it like a business and I had this belief that I could do it. I believed in our company. I believed in myself. I believed in my team. And so, from the very beginning, I was committed.
I saw network marketing as a vehicle to enable me to leave my corporate job and so I was consistent. I showed up every day.
Now, Penny made this so much easier, helping me work with my buckets of time each day.
In less than two years, with hard work and consistency, I was able to walk away from my job in pharmaceuticals and work full time on my network marketing job.
That’s amazing. What would your advice be to someone starting in the industry?
Don’t quit. Give it time.
So many people want instant success and I think we’re in a time where there is a culture of people wanting instant gratification. They come into the industry with these big goals but they don’t give it time. I always say that time is going to pass anyway, so it might take five years, but isn’t it better to spend five years trying than giving up after three months… Commit and give it sufficient time. I would say give it at least a year. But that has to be a year of being consistent and doing the work.
There is so much opportunity in our industry and yet so many people quit within a month. It isn’t for everyone but you’ll never know if you don’t give it a proper go.
How do you set people up for success when they join your team?
When I bring on a new consultant, I think a key part of their success is that I believe in them before they believe in themselves. I’ve always felt really strongly that if someone believes in you, then you’re more likely to believe in yourself.
I would say 90% of consultants second guess themselves within the first week. Either because of negative thinking or negative feedback from strangers or even friends and family. Comments like… ‘Oh you’re doing that…’ OR ‘But you don’t have any sales experience’ OR ‘I don’t like your product.’
So when their confidence is knocked, I’m here for them with the support they need to pick themselves up and keep on going. If any of my team get a negative comment or are feeling down about their progress, they know they can come to me.
So knowing that I believe in them and I’m there to support them is the first step and then secondly I keep it really simple for them.
That’s my job as a leader – killing the noise and guiding them through the activities and information that’s going to help them grow their own business.
Being a leader in direct sales is so different to working in a corporate environment. We have to invest in our personal development so that we can help our team.
In your experience, why do most people join network marketing?
Most people start because they’re looking for additional income; however, I would say that a lot of people stay because of the community and the culture.
Throughout 2020, I saw a surge in people interested in joining because they were looking for a positive community. 2020 was such a crazy year and there was so much negativity. Network marketing was a way to immediately join a like-minded, empowering community, that truly is a positive influence for so many.
It can’t be understated how important the friendship aspect is in network marketing. When I look at my friends now, I realize that so many of them came into my life through direct sales. The community piece is so important.
That’s so lovely, why do you think that is?
Well, the reality is that you can’t be successful in network marketing unless the rest of the team, the reps and the company are successful. My goal is to empower the leaders in my downline to be better leaders than me.
Direct sales is such a special structure because it gives everyone the opportunity to be successful, for whatever they deem as successful. So if the whole company and the teams are successful then I am successful. I never saw this in my corporate environment.
And I think this mindset goes against what people think network marketing is when they look at the industry from the outside. Someone once said to me that direct sales is like a geode. To the outside world, it looks like a rock- boring and ugly, but once you’re on the inside, you can see how truly amazing it is.
Thank you so much for speaking with me today. To finish what is your favourite Penny and Huddle Up feature?
The ease and simplicity.
One of the biggest problems in our industry is that so many people are wasting their time. Huddle Up, like Penny, helps network marketers use their time wisely so they can grow their business in the buckets of time they have available.
Some people join network marketing as a hobby, others to make a little extra income, and others to build something significant… with Huddle Up and Penny, it means they can quickly check the apps to see the latest team and company information and then they look at their Daily and they’re set.
For me personally, and probably at least 95% of people would say the same, I really value my time – so the biggest gift we can give people is a tool that frees up their time.
Honestly, the whole app is my favourite feature. Laughs. I love that it’s a dedicated space for our business and truly helps people focus on the right things to grow.
Sara believes passionately in the direct sales industry and how the business model can transform people's lives. Now Sara is working to improve the tools available for network marketers as they build and grow their businesses.
If you’re looking for tools to help improve your direct sales business workflow— check out Penny, the AI-powered virtual assistant that helps you build and run a successful business through repeatable, scaleable, customer-centric sales processes.
Learn more about Sara Cavallaro and Huddle Up: